As the hype around CBD oil picks up every day, one might wonder whether it is safe and legal to drive under the influence of CBD oil or with CBD oil in the system. However, the answer to the question takes many factors into concern, primarily because state laws on CBD oil vary, and how nations view CBD oil also differs. Generally, studies are mixed about the existence of risk in driving after taking CBD oil, where others claim there are no risks while some reveal that there might be moderate risks to taking CBD oil with THC. Ultimately, though, the THC content in the CBD oil is a critical factor in driving with CBD oil, especially since research links THC to the impairment that might come with driving after taking CBD oil.

Understanding CBD Oil

It is a chemical compound and an active component of cannabis plants. CBD oil can be extracted from marijuana or hemp plants, but the 2018 farm Bill considers hemp-derived CBD oil with less than 0.3% THC legal. Still, state laws on CBD oil usage, purchase, selling, and possession vary from state to state. Knowing what your state says about CBD oil helps to avoid landing into problems for having CBD oil or using it while driving.

CBD oil occurs in the following three types;

Full-spectrum CBD oil

Has terpenes, flavonoids, and multiple cannabinoids other than CBD, including CBDA, CBDV, CBG, CBGA, CBC, CBT, CBN, and the psychoactive THC. Full-range or whole-plant hemp CBD oil is linked to a full entourage effect because of the multiple cannabinoids, although studies are still mixed about this phenomenon.

Broad-spectrum CBD oil

Has many terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids as in full-spectrum CBD oil, only that it does not have the psychoactive THC. Still, it promises the full entourage effect that’s yet to be verified by more advanced studies.

 Isolate-based CBD oil

Has pure CBD without additional cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Although it does not have the full entourage effect, it is many people’s best pick because it does not have the earthy flavor and taste of whole-plant hemp CBD oil.

CBD Oil and Impairment- What You Need to Know

Studies are mixed about driving with CBD oil, especially after vaping CBD e-liquid or drinking a tincture. Still, most of them point out the presence or absence of THC in the CBD oil that one uses. For the largest part, CBD oil is non-intoxicating and will not make the user high. As such, driving after taking CBD oil should technically be safe, although studies are yet to prove this. However, everything changes when you use a THC product or when you take a tincture or a vape product with THC.

What Studies Say About CBD Oil and Impairment

One study commented that taking a CBD oil product whose contents do not include THC is not intoxicating. As such, taking a non-THC CBD oil, as in isolate or broad-spectrum CBD oils, would not impair driving. It also added that THC, the active intoxicant in full-spectrum CBD oil, has an impairment period lasting up to 4 hours. Consequently, one would have to wait for at least 5 hours after taking a CBD oil product with THC before safely driving.

Challenges Linked to CBD Oil Studies on Driving

The main challenge regarding CBD oil studies and driving impairment is that there are not many of them. Besides, they feature only small populations, which do not form a basis of statistical significance, although they may have a bearing in real-world situations. What’s more, studies are mixed about how THC might affect driving. While some suggest that THC might not have any impairing effects on driving, some claim that there is a moderate risk in driving under the influence of THC. Besides, the study quoted above used lower CBD oil dosages (13.5 mg) than what an average CBD enthusiast would take.

The Delivery Method for the CBD Oil Matters

The delivery method of CBD oil matters in determining whether THC-filled CBD oil one has taken may impair driving and for how long. This is true, specifically because activation times for various CBD oil products differ. For instance, vaped CBD oil may typically get to the system faster because of higher bioavailability. As if that’s not enough, it may not last in the system for longer. CBD oil tinctures are mainly administered sublingually because there are many blood vessels in the mucous membrane under the cheeks and below the tongue, quickening the absorption rate of the oil. After absorption, the CBD in the tincture may take 30 minutes to manifest, and its effects may last for a few hours, and so will the THC if one took a full-spectrum tincture with THC. However, CBD edibles like gummies may take some time before producing effects because the gummy has to be digested first before the CBD oil is absorbed into the system. As such, the ‘high’ effect of the THC might stay longer.

People Respond Differently to CBD Oil

This blog mentions that if you take a THC-filled CBD oil product, you might remain ‘high’ for about 4 hours. However, this is only an estimate generated from recent studies. It is noteworthy that people respond differently to CBD oil products, and the ‘high’ effect in THC-filled full-spectrum CBD oils might last longer or for a shorter time. Factors like a person’s chemistry, genetic makeup, and BMI come to the picture since they determine how long CBD oil takes to manifest effects and stay in the system.

Conclusion CBD oil and impairment in driving remains a matter of concern. Existing research shows that while CBD oil might be non-intoxicating, CBD oil products with THC might impair driving. Currently, 4 hours is the estimated time a person might remain ‘high’ after taking CBD products whose THC levels are high, but more advanced studies are needed to clarify this. It is worth noting that the period might differ from one person to another since a person’s BMI, chemistry, and genetic makeup come into play.

Mental health expert
MS, University of Latvia

I am deeply convinced that each patient needs a unique, individual approach. Therefore, I use different psychotherapy methods in my work. During my studies, I discovered an in-depth interest in people as a whole and the belief in the inseparability of mind and body, and the importance of emotional health in physical health. In my spare time, I enjoy reading (a big fan of thrillers) and going on hikes.

Latest from CBD